What are the factors affecting meal planning?


It is not very easy to provide acceptable mi to each member of the family according their likings. Even after being familiar all the principles of meal planning, a house- is often unable to select foods according to members of the family as the number of factors affect meal planning which are as follows:

Economic factor

The amount and the kind of food for a family depend on its income. With the decrease in income percentage, expenditure food increases and hence more careful efforts are required to plan meals. Society can be divided into three categories on the basis of income – lower, middle, and high income groups.


With the increase in income, choice in selecting foods can be wider for seasonal or non-seasonal foods and such foods can be procured locally or from far off places. But people belonging to lower income group can’t afford costly foods such as milk, meat, fruits, etc. Therefore, it is desirable to adopt such measures that provide nutritious food at a low cost. Some such measures are as follows

(i) Use more of less expensive foods like cereals. In place of expensive cereals like rice and wheat, use low cost cereals like rage, mower, bare, etc.

(ii) Use jiggery in place of sugar.

(iii) Use seasonal and locally produced fruits and vegetables.


(iv) Use methods like sprouting, fermenta­tion, and combination of foods to en­hance nutritive value. For example, khichdi made by combination of cereal and pulses is very nutritious food.

(v) Use methods like pressure cooking to retain nutritive value of foods

(vi) Use cheap nuts like groundnuts.

(vii) Utilise leftovers properly.


Size and composition of the family

(i) Size of the family

Size of a family refers to the number of its members. Amount of food served in the family is largely deter­mined by the number of its members. More members mean more food for the family. The nature of the family whether nuclear or joint also affects the meal planning to a large extent

(ii) Family composition


Family com­position refers to the age, sex, activity, occupation, and different physical conditions of its members.

• Age. Age determines the nutritional re­quirements of all family members, e.g., more protein and minerals are required for growing children. Adults require food according to their activities.

• Occupation. More calories are required for a heavy worker whereas more pro­teins are required for people doing men­tal work. Various professions can be categorised on the basis of their activity as follows:

(a) Sedentary worker-Teacher, Law­yer, Doctor, Nurse, etc.


(b) Moderate worker-Driver, Potter, Carpenter, etc.

(c) Heavy worker-Player, Labourer, Iron smith, etc.

• Sex. Normally women require less food as compared to men because of their less height, weight, body composition, and physical activity, e.g., a 30 years-old woman doing heavy work requires 3000 calories per day but the requirement of a male of the same age and doing the same work requires 3900 calories per day.

• Physical condition. Some specific body conditions affect the nutritional require­ments, e.g., during pregnancy and lacta­tion the body requires more nutrients. A diabetic patient requires less of carbo­hydrates. A person with high blood pres­sure requires less salt.

3. Season

Meals should be in accordance to the season. With the change in season, availabi­lity of foodstuffs and our taste also change. In summers, bottle gourd, ridge gourd, pumpkin, tinder, bitter gourd, etc., are in abundance whereas carrots, radish, tomato, peas, cauliflower, etc., in winters. Seasonal foods are also more likeable as well as nutritious.

Physical requirements also change with the change in season. Cold drinks like lemon water, soft drinks, ice creams, kali, etc. are liked in summer and hot drinks like tea, coffee and high calorie foods like peanuts or till chick, pannier, hot pakoras, tike, Samoa, etc., are
preferred in winter. Therefore, a housewife must choose vegetables, fruits, and other foodstuffs according to the season.

4. Food availability

Availability of food also affects the meal planning. A housewife should make maximum use of locally produced foodstuffs because they are cheap, tasty and compatible with the cli­mate. For example, sea food is easily available and cheap in coastal areas so it is the staple food of the people living there.

Including mango or watermelon in diet is useless in winter if it is not available. Today with increasing the means of transportation, preservation and storage, the availability of foodstuffs has increased by which at the time of more variety need can be added to the meal.

5. Food acceptance

Acceptance or rejection of food by a per­son is affected by his likes and dislikes, reli­gious and social traditions and customs. All these factors are to be kept in mind while planning a meal. Some basic facts are as follows:

• Traditional and regional foods. Food becomes more acceptable with the addi­tion of regional food in the diet because people of a region are familiar with these foods and their tastes have developed accordingly, e.g., Idly and Dose is a spe­cial food of southern India and Dhaka, Khadi, echo western India.

• Religious beliefs. Religion plays an im­portant role in the acceptance of food, e.g., non-vegetarian foods are prohibited in certain religions, whereas garlic and onions in some other sects. Some special dishes are prepared on religious festivals like Diwali, Dussehra, Holi, Asthma, etc. Sweets are also made on auspicious occa­sions.

• Food habits. Food habits affect meal planning to a great extent, e.g., some people take heavy breakfast while oth­ers prefer heavy dinner, some people like rice while others chapattis. But per­sonal likings and disliking should not be a barrier in fulfilling the nutritional quarrymen’s of a person, e.g., chill often dislike green vegetables and mi In such cases its form can be Chan Milk can be given in the form of c cheese, or kheer.

6. Lifestyle

Every family has a different life’s Therefore, number of meals taken in a also varies in some families 2-3 meals taken in a day whereas in some it is upto times. Meal-time also varies in every far because the time and number of meals affected by the person’s activity, income a physical state. For example, number of me taken is more in high income group compared to low income group.

During meal planning, emphasis should be laid on the main meal of the day. ‘Nutritional deficiencies of other meals should be compensated in the main meal. For exam people whose profession demands to go parties or arrange parties a number of times a week should take simple food while them at home.

7. Availability of time, energy and labor saving devices

Meal planning is greatly affected by availability of time, energy and labour saving devices with the housewife. This is m important in those cases where the housewife i also working. Such housewives usually like cook simple meals which can be prepared ease; and quickly. With the help of energy and it ) saving devices, she can make different foods no time and can add variety to the meals.

In the beginning, every housewife has face difficulties while doing meal planning but efficiency comes with practice and inter

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